Man attacks boss with meat cleaver, is found guilty of attempted manslaughter

JURY VERDICT: Man attacks boss with meat cleaver, is found guilty of attempted manslaughter

Zhong Huang claimed he only pretended to pick up a meat cleaver and cut his boss’ neck.

Zhong Huang

Huang raised the knife over his head and charged his boss, swinging the cleaver at him.

“If you call the police, I will kill you,” Huang said, pressing the cleaver to his boss’ neck, cutting him.

A jury found Huang guilty Tuesday of attempted manslaughter with a weapon, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and battery. Huang is facing up to 21 years in prison and will be sentenced Sept. 15.

Assistant State Attorney William Beaver took jurors back to January 10, 2017, and explained the events that led up to the attack.

Huang had been hired as a new employee at China Park restaurant in Winter Haven and was helping the owners close up for the evening. Zheng Shan, one of the owners, asked Huang for his ID so she could complete his employment paperwork, and he immediately got upset.

“I insisted, and he kept refusing,” Shan said from the witness stand Tuesday. “He started getting really mad.”

Shan’s husband and co-owner of the restaurant, Jai Bao Dong, told her to stop arguing with Huang and to call the police for help.

“That sentence made him very upset,” Shan said.

Huang picked up the meat cleaver and ran after Dong, threatening to kill him if he called the police. Dong fought with him, but Huang swung the knife at him and kept it pressed against his neck, cutting him.

Shan rushed over to help her husband, whose neck was bleeding, by hitting Huang in the head with her hand. Dong was able to push the knife down and force Huang’s right hand to the counter, but Dong said, Huang didn’t give up.

During closing statements Tuesday, Assistant State Attorney William Beaver shows the jury how Zhong Huang swung the cleaver at his boss.

While trying to help her husband hold Huang’s hand and the knife down, Shan used her free hand to try to call the police. But Huang reached around with his left hand, grabbing a handful of Shan’s hair and slamming her head onto the counter next to the phone.

“I saw my wife’s pinky finger almost broken and her head bleeding, and I knew we could not get him under control,” Dong said, through the help of an interpreter. “I told him, ‘All right. All right. Just put the knife down. We won’t call the police.’”

Huang responded to Dong, saying, “You better not call the police because if you do, no matter how many years they put me in jail, when I get out, I will kill your family.”

He then let go of the knife, and Dong pushed him out of the restaurant and locked the door. Shan immediately called the police.

A security camera in the restaurant’s kitchen recorded the first half of the fight.

From the witness stand Tuesday, Huang admitted he was the one in the video who picked up the knife, but he claimed the altercation started not because Shan asked for his ID but because he’d been waiting all day for her to pay his salary. Huang said he missed a bus back to New York that day and had started to get upset because neither would pay him.

“I was just pretending, trying to scare them so they could pay me my salary,” Huang said through the help of an interpreter. “If I really wanted to hurt him (Dong), I would have. … I was just aggravated by him and his body language.”

As for the threat to kill Dong and Shan if they called the police, Huang claimed he never said anything like that.

In closings, Beaver reminded jurors that Huang was angry and decided to take matters into his own hands by picking up a knife and charging the victim.

“The statement about calling the police set him (Huang) off. He told them, ‘I’ll kill you,’ and he tried to do just that,” Beaver said. “And those choices are what the state is going to ask you to hold him accountable for.”